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Clayoquot Dunes

Coastal sand ecosystems are one of the rarest and most threatened ecosystem types in Canada.

Ancient Rainforest Logging in Clayoquot Sound’s Intact Valleys

December 11th, 2017
FOCS Campaigner, Jeh Custerra, monitoring logging near Virgin Falls in Clayoquot Sound.


Friends of Clayoquot Sound recently submitted a letter as part of the Clayoquot Sound Conservation Alliance to provide input on Ma-Mook’s Tree Farm License 54 Management Plan #5 as per the public comment period.  

Many of the intact old growth forest areas in Clayoquot Sound remain in the timber harvesting land base of Plan #5. These areas include the intact old growth forest valleys of Satchie, Hesquiat Lake and Hesquiat Point Creeks; Sydney-Pretty Girl-Easter Lake; and the intact valleys south of Watta Creek. These watersheds serve as thriving ecosystems, which have almost completely disappeared on Vancouver Island, and hold important cultural values for the region’s Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous residents alike. These areas, combined with Strathcona Park and the Ursus, Bulson, Upper Kennedy, Upper Tofino and Clayoquot Valleys (in TFL 57), form the largest tract of old growth forest remaining on Vancouver Island.

Connectivity of intact old growth forests is extremely rare and in that rarity lies the global significance. These intact old growth forests provide essential travel corridors for key species including bears, wolves, cougar, elk and many others. Their massive trees, snags, nurse logs and tree canopies provide habitat for many species at risk that can only thrive in old growth forests. They also help regulate water temperature, quality and flow and are central to maintaining a healthy wild salmon population and are critical to addressing global climate change because of the amount of carbon they hold.

Caption: FOCS Campaigner, Jeh Custerra, monitoring logging near Virgin Falls earlier this year.

FOCS Campaigner, Jeh Custerra, monitoring logging near Virgin Falls in Clayoquot Sound.


Since large-scale logging began on Vancouver Island, an area equivalent to approximately two soccer fields of old-growth rainforest has been cut every hour. In light of how few old-growth forest ecosystems remain on Vancouver Island and the current battles to protect the little that remains, we believe the value of these areas for clean air, water, climate, tourism and recreation as part of diverse local Indigenous and non-Indigenous economies will be significantly greater if left unlogged and intact to allow long-term preservation combined with conservation financing and carbon revenue.

There are active conversations between The Nature Conservancy and First Nations in Clayoquot Sound about conservation and community investment opportunities, which may involve conservation of many of these sensitive intact areas. Friends of Clayoquot Sound advocates that until each First Nation community in Clayoquot Sound has developed a land use vision for their hahoulthee, as Ahousaht First Nation have done, the intact old growth forest areas remaining in the timber harvesting land base should be removed. Once the First Nations’ plans are complete, the timber harvesting land base should be altered accordingly.

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